Heartbeats and heart attacks

This week’s medical infographic is an introduction to several different kinds of heart disease. The ten featured diseases are some of the most common causes of abnormal EKGs. An electrocardiogram (or EKG) records the electrical activity of the heart, and is used by doctors to screen patients for several types of heart conditions.

To provide a reference for a healthy heartbeat, the first entry in the infographic is an EKG trace from a normal adult (with the important sections labeled clearly). The following 10 entries are all examples of abnormal EKGs of varying severity.

I wanted to highlight the unique shapes of each EKG wave as the focal point of the poster. After trying a few different things, I decided to try and make a digital heartbeat “sunrise,” where each of the EKG waves defined a specific colorful section of the poster. I thought it would show off the simple shape of the waves, and also work as a practical way to section off the different descriptions. I designed each EKG line in Illustrator, and then imported the shapes to Photoshop to add textured shadows, color overlays, and text.

As with my other medical infographics, Dr. Arun Mathews, a Chief Medical Officer in Texas, fact-checked my work and suggested useful articles.